Monroe pays more than double for salt after trucking company can’t deliver order

Monroe paid more than twice the price of salt than expected during last month’s snow event after a trucking company wasn’t able to deliver the city’s pre-ordered salt.

City council had approved purchasing salt for $55 a ton and the city was expecting to receive several shipments of salt throughout the winter season.

But after severe storms hit within a few days and the demand for salt increased throughout the region, Monroe didn’t receive its allotment and the two salt bins were getting dangerously low, said City Manager Bill Brock.

With more storms predicted last month and not enough salt available to treat the main roads, Brock said the city sought other sources. The city purchased 152.22 tons from Majors Supply in Monroe for $130 a ton, or $19,793.80. City council approved the emergency ordinance during Tuesday’s meeting.

Council member Christina McElfresh said the city had to purchase the higher priced salt to treat the roads because the safety of residents was “paramount.”

Council member Keith Funk compared paying more for salt during an emergency to buying milk at a convenience store.

Before the salt could be delivered by Majors, Monroe borrowed 100 tons from the Butler County Engineer’s Office and that salt has been restored, Brock said. The city’s two salt bins that hold 1,250 tons are full, he said.

He said it’s “a balancing act” to order the correct amount of salt because there are “good winters and bad winters.” There have been mild winters when very little salt was used, he said.

The city is completing a facilities study to determine if it should increase the capacities of its salt bins, Brock said. Larger bins would allow the city to purchase more salt during the summer and store it until needed.

In other business:

Council had a first reading of a resolution that would raise monthly trash fees with Rumpke from $13.50 to $18.48, or a 37-percent increase. The contract would run through Jan. 31, 2023.

If approved, the rate increase would be the first in the city since 2006, according to Brock.

Council is considering whether to hold Monroe’s annual July 4 fireworks show and festival if the Lions Club, which typically sponsors the event, is unable, Mayor Jason Frentzel said.

Last year’s July 4th celebration was cancelled due to the coronavirus, though the city held a fireworks show on Labor Day.

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